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REVIEW: Maleficent Trailer

Image property of Disney Official Website

We’re taking a break from Steampunk month for a moment to analyze Disney’s latest promotional release of their upcoming film, Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie.

I’m not gonna lie: I’m a huge Disney Villains fan, and Maleficent is my favorite among them. The first teaser trailer piqued my interest, as short as it was, and was looking forward to the first official trailer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t everything I hoped for.

Not only that, this trailer presents a product far from any previous portrayals of the Disney Villain. At best it is a Wicked-style take on the character which portrays Maleficent in the light anti-hero rather than villain. At worst, Maleficent appears to be plainly out of character.

So which is it? Evil sorceress with a justified reason for her actions, or misunderstood fairy with a heart of gold? The official synopsis on Disney’s website states:

“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

It sounds as though Maleficent comes to the realization that she’s made a horrible mistake and works for the rest of the film to try and rectify it. However, this is hardly in keeping with the 1959 Disney character of the same name. Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty is known to be regal, dignified, vengeful, spiteful, but most importantly: unapologetic. This is a character who is proud of who she is and of her actions, and it’s what makes her such a memorable villain. She’s not out to make the world a better place – Maleficent is in charge of all the forces of evil and hell, and is damn proud of it!

Not every villain needs to be redeemed in the eyes of the audience. Sometimes we respect a character more when they remain true to who they are. A strong antagonist is what allows for conflict in a story, and by extent an actual plot, but when a writer seeks to redeem every antagonist a hero comes across… then you run the risk of weakening the plot of a story itself. What is the plot of Maleficent except for Maleficent seeking to stop some ambiguous evil? Considering the fact that she IS that ambiguous evil… I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly feel as though an internal conflict will entertain an audience long enough to fill an entire movie.

And that’s to say nothing of the absolutely horrible CGI on the “good” fairies, and overall whimsical tone of the trailer itself, which seems to contradict earlier promotional materials. If Disney doesn’t seem to know what kind of movie they’re putting out, then how are we supposed to know?

I give this trailer 2 1/2 out of 5 stars… here’s hoping Disney tries harder at convincing me.

1 – Don’t want to see it at all
2 – I’ll need stellar reviews to see it
3 – Maybe I’ll watch it on Netflix
4 – Maybe if my friends pay for my movie ticket….
5 – I’ll watch it on opening night


 

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